Big 12: Devon Nash

Kansas State is the final Big 12 team to begin spring practice, just in time for the first team in the Big 12's spring to end. Texas' spring game was Saturday, but Kansas State's first practice is later today. Let's take a closer look.

Schedule: The first of Kansas State's 15 NCAA-allowed practices begins today. They'll lead up to a spring game on April 27. Excluding the spring game, practices are closed to fans and media.

What's new: Defensive run game coordinator and ends coach Joe Bob Clements left the staff to take a similar job at Oklahoma State. Receivers coach Michael Smith did the same and left to Arkansas. Kansas State replaced Smith with Andre Coleman, a former Wildcat from 1990-93 who spent the last three years coaching at Youngstown State. Another Kansas State alum, Blake Seiler, will replace Clements and coach the ends. He played from 2004-06 and served as a graduate assistant on the school's staff the past two seasons.

New faces: Kansas State is welcoming nine players to spring practice who enrolled early from their 2013 recruiting class. Six of them are junior college transfers, including cornerback Nate Jackson, who could make an immediate impact in the secondary. Quarterback Jake Waters and defensive end Devon Nash, juco teammates at Iowa Western, are also on campus and ready to go.

All eyes on: The quarterback race. This thing could go in a number of directions, but Daniel Sams will try and turn spot duty as a runner in mop-up time into a starting position this spring. His competition, Waters, broke Cam Newton's junior college completion percentage record a year ago. Anything could happen, but this should be a fun race between two very different passers.

Question mark: Defensive line. Ryan Mueller showed a lot of potential last season, but all four starters on the defensive line are gone, including Meshak Williams, who put together as strong of a season as any defensive lineman in the Big 12 last season. Javonta Boyd is gone, too. Kansas State needs to find answers along the defensive line this spring, and new position coach Blake Seiler has his work cut out for him.

Breaking out: Tyler Lockett. Big 12 die hard fans know him pretty well, but he's a dangerous target who can make plays with the ball in his hand. With Chris Harper graduating and chasing NFL dreams, he's likely to emerge as the top target in the unit. He's undersized, sure, but he's dangerous. K-State will find ways to get him the ball in the passing game. He'll take advantage.

All eyes on: John Hubert. He's yet another guy stepping into a bigger role this spring. Considering how tight of a ship Kansas State runs during the spring, we won't know just how much K-State's offense will rely on him until the fall, but he's topped 900 yards in each of the past two seasons with limited carries in the shadow of Collin Klein. Klein's gone. It's Hubert's time.
Signing day has come and gone, but we'll have plenty of coverage looking at each Big 12 team's class. This morning, we'll look at how each team filled its needs.


Needs filled: Prerogative No. 1 for Baylor is fixing its defense, and the Bears are getting some help at linebacker in prep transfer Brian Nance, Raaquan Davis (No. 28 outside linebacker) and Travon Blanchard (No. 37 OLB). Future defensive tackle Andrew Billings was a home-grown talent who should compliment Javonte Magee well up front in the years to come. The Bears also need to keep the offensive machine humming. They seem to have done that with their two top signees, Robbie Rhodes, the nation's No. 3 receiver, and Chris Johnson, the nation's No. 5 dual-threat passer who coach Art Briles raved about in his signing day presser.

Holes remaining: Debate their quality all you'd like, but the Bears lost players in the secondary like Chance Casey and Mike Hicks, and cornerback Joe Williams will be a senior. There's not a lot of strength at defensive back in this class, unless Taion Sells (No. 46 safety) and Alfred Pullom (No. 67 safety) can blossom in Waco.


Needs filled: Rodney Coe comes to Ames via junior college and will try and replace some losses along the defensive line, but the biggest need for the Cyclones has been offensive playmakers. Aaron Wimberly checks in via the juco ranks at running back, but can ISU develop Texas receivers Brandon Harris and Bryan Ajumobi into major weapons at the Big 12 level?

Holes remaining: The Cyclones lost a pair of starters at linebacker and signed just one linebacker in this class, Florida native Brian Mills. Besides that, Iowa State did a nice job of bringing in big bodies along the defensive line and filling some offensive line holes, too, headlined by in-state prospect Jake Campos, who Iowa State swiped from Mizzou.


Needs filled: I'll be honest here, KU could use a big talent upgrade at pretty much every position on the field, other than running back. It's all about the jucos for the Jayhawks. Marquel Combs could be a major player up front to help KU stop the run and collapse pockets, but KU got a pair of big-time playmakers at receiver, too, in Ishmael Hyman and Rodriguez Coleman. Chris Martin offers another solid option as a pass-rusher. The Jayhawks also added a pair of quarterbacks in Montell Cozart and Jordan Darling.

Holes remaining: Did KU get enough high-quality linemen to replace its three lost starters? Ahongalu Fusimalohi is a juco transfer and Joey Bloomfield is the nation's No. 118 offensive tackle, but replacing solid starters like Tanner Hawkinson and Trevor Marrongelli is no easy task.


Needs filled: K-State basically lost its entire defense from last year, so any defenders will be greatly appreciated. Four of the classes' top five signees are defenders, highlighted by inside linebacker Nick Ramirez and juco corner Nate Jackson. Inside linebacker Tanner Wood and juco defensive end Devon Nash will also help fill the Wildcats' big losses defensively.

Holes remaining: The Wildcats are solid at running back this year, but it could be looking a bit thin in the future. John Hubert will be a senior this year and Bryce Brown didn't pan out, so K-State might have used a running back in this class. It didn't happen. K-State was shut out at the position.


Needs filled: Defensive line was the biggest one, and the Sooners grabbed two pass-rushers in the ESPN 300, D.J. Ward and Matt Dimon. Those two should pay off big, and Ward has enrolled early. Hatari Byrd also gives the Sooners an answer in the secondary while the nation's No. 3 running back, Keith Ford, helps provide solid depth at running back.

Holes remaining: Oklahoma lost Tom Wort to the NFL draft and Corey Nelson will be a senior next year, but Oklahoma didn't stock this class with a single linebacker. The Sooners don't put many traditional linebackers on the field and has converted a lot of safeties into outside linebackers, but still.